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1970 Year in Review

1970_Walt_Dombrowski_Modified_Champ (Dugas)
Walt Dombrowski took over the controls of Stash Miezejeski’s L-M coupe and won the 1970 Modified crown (Rene Dugas photo)

Late in 1969, two-time Speedbowl champion Newt Palm was seriously injured during a race at Seekonk (MA) Speedway and retired from racing shortly thereafter. The L&M car was then handed over to Walt Dombrowski. Walt won the first race of 1970 at the Speedbowl, led the division with 5 wins and gave car owner Stanley “Stosh” Miezejewski his 3rd Modified Championship in 4 years. Glynn Shafer won 4 times and Dick Watson also won 4 times (including 3 of the last 4 events of the year) driving Norm Kies‘ #21 machine

1970 marked the end of an era with 3 of the Speedbowl’s best ever retiring from competition. In addition to Palm retiring the previous season, 5-time champion Don Collins finished 2nd to Walt Dombrowski in the 1970 opener.  Then promptly notified car owner Billy Simons after the race that he no longer had the desire to compete and retired on the spot.  Collins never drove competively again.  Charlie Webster then returned to the “Excavator Special” team that he won 3 track titles within the 1950’s. Charlie won the final two features of his career in June and shortly after, he too retired. (Dick Dunn took over driving duties from there and also won 2 races). Collectively, Collins, Webster and Palm won over 225 feature events and 13 Track Championships during their careers at the Waterford Speedbowl.

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Ron ‘Boots’ Cote was the 1970 Daredevil Champion at Waterford (Shany photo)

In the Daredevil division, Ron Cote earned his first Speedbowl championship. He was a 4-time winner. Johnny DeLong led the divisions with 5 wins. Bob Gada won the season ending 36-lap event. Former 2-time Champ Bill Sweet won 4 times as well, including two special 35-lap features. This was the last season for the Daredevils, as the division would be revised to the Sportsmen Sedan late model division the following year. Sweet, with his 31 career victories, is the all-time Daredevil winner. No other driver had more than 12 career wins in the 6 year existence of the division.

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Len Thrall won the lone NEMA Midget winner at Waterford in 1970 (Shany photo)

The NEMA Midgets returned to the Speedbowl in August. Len Thrall won the 25 lap event. Rita Prescott and Ann Belliveau won the two Powder Puff Derby events.

Early in the year, Nick Dinsmoor‘s #16 car flew over the backstretch wall during the feature. He was the third person in track history whose car completely left the racing area during competition. He walked away uninjured.

More Speedbowl Photos from 1970

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